The Belgian Malinois is a highly intelligent and trainable breed of dog that is often used in roles such as police and military work, as well as personal protection. However, despite their reputation as fierce protectors, Belgian Malinois are not naturally protective of their owners. This is a common misconception about the breed, and it is important to understand that protection training is not something that comes naturally to the animal. Let’s explore the misconceptions surrounding the natural protective instincts of dogs, and the special training needed to turn a Belgian Malinois into a true protection dog.
Dogs are pack animals, and they have evolved to protect their pack from threats. However, it's been shown that this pack instinct does not extend to protecting human owners. While dogs may be inclined to protect their family and their home, they do not have an innate protective instinct towards their human owners. In fact, studies have shown that dogs are more likely to protect their own offspring than their human owners. This is because the survival of their offspring is crucial for the continuation of their genetic line, whereas the survival of their human owner is not.
Protection training involves teaching the dog to recognize and respond to specific threats, as well as to develop an appropriate level of aggression. This type of training is not something that can be done by the average pet owner, and should only be undertaken by experienced trainers.
Protection training typically involves teaching the dog to recognize and respond to specific commands, such as "attack" or "guard." The dog is also trained to recognize and respond to specific situations, such as an intruder entering the home. This type of training is highly specialized, and requires a significant investment of time, effort, and resources.
It is also important to note that even with this highly specialized protection training, this still does not make a dog naturally protective of its owner. A well-trained protection dog is a highly skilled animal that has been taught to respond to specific commands and situations. These dogs have been purposely trained for these roles and are executing a command, not naturally springing into action when their owner is under threat.
Protection dogs can be dangerous if not handled properly. The liability that comes with owning a protection dog can be both legal and financial, including costly medical expenses, property damage, legal fees, and even criminal charges.
It is of the utmost importance for a protection dog to not act on its own without a command to attack or guard. A protection dog that acts on its own, without the proper command, instruction or interpretation, can be a danger to both its handler and others. If it were to act on its own, it could cause injury or damage to innocent people or property.
Here are some liabilities that could befall the owners of a dog who is not properly trained as a personal protection dog or who may be leaning on the hope that their dog is naturally protective:
The dog can be unpredictable and dangerous. And may attack or guard against the wrong person or thing, causing harm to an innocent person, or even its own handler. The dog may also attack or guard at inappropriate times, such as when there is no real threat present.
The dog can be difficult to control and may not respond to commands or cues, or may become aggressive or defensive when it should not. This can make it difficult for the handler to manage the dog and keep it under control.
The dog can be a liability. As stated earlier, the legal and financial liability of owning a protection dog can be severe, and if a protection dog causes injury or damage without proper command or instruction, the owner may be held liable for any damages that result. This can include costly medical expenses for injuries caused by the dog, as well as property damage and legal fees.
Belgian Malinois may not be naturally protective of their owners, but they can be trained to execute "attack" and "guard" commands with proper training. However, it's important to understand that protection training is a serious undertaking and should only be done by experienced trainers.
If you’re interested in learning more about personal protection I highly recommend the book, "Controlled Aggression" by Jerry Bradshaw. Available on Amazon.
If you are interested in purchasing a protection dog or would like to schedule a live demo, reach out to Courtney Robbins of Global K9 Protection Services and tell her Maligatormom sent you!
"Belgian Malinois: Breed Profile" by the American Kennel Club
"Protection Dog Training: What You Need to Know" by the International Association of Canine Professionals
"The Protective Instincts of Dogs" by Stanley Coren, Ph.D.